The No. 1 North Carolina women’s soccer team (7-1-0) was defeated 2-0 by Arkansas (6-1-1) on the road on Sunday, giving the Tar Heels their first loss of the season.
In the first half, both teams battled and finished the half with four shots each, but the game remained scoreless. North Carolina senior Bridgette Andrzejewski was the only player with a shot on goal in the first half. The Razorbacks set up an aggressive defense, earning them 12 fouls and a pair of yellow cards.
To start the second half, the Tar Heels made a goalkeeper change as sophomore Claudia Dickey stepped in for first-year Marz Josephson. In the 63rd minute, Arkansas scored the first goal of the game after a strong counterattack to take a 1-0 lead.
The Tar Heels remained active on offense, but were unable to put the ball in the back of the net despite outshooting the Razorbacks 12-10 on the day. Arkansas buried another goal in the 81st minute, and used dominant defensive play to seal the win.
“They outworked us – every pass for us was difficult, it seemed,” head coach Anson Dorrance said. “Their pressure was tremendous, and we were not able to break it often enough to create a chance.”
Who stood out?
Junior Alessia Russo had two out of the three shots on goal for the Tar Heels, while Dorrance praised the play of first-year forward Isabel Cox, who caught the eye of her head coach with solid play.
“Even in this kind of game, where it was very difficult given how aggressive they were playing, Cox did a lot of very good things,” Dorrance said.
When was it decided?
Arkansas pulled ahead in the middle of the second half, and was able to hold off the Tar Heels for the remainder of the game. Despite a decent amount of chances, the Tar Heels were unable to capitalize.
Then, with 10 minutes to play, the Razorbacks went up 2-0 to secure the win.
Why does it matter?
This is North Carolina’s first loss of the season, coming after a Thursday win against Wake Forest at home. After making the trek to Arkansas, the Tar Heels dropped a chance to be undefeated going into conference play.
“The nice thing about what happens now is we get to train a bit. And we do need to train,” Dorrance said. “For the first part of this season, we were tapering into every single game. We’ll actually have four training sessions before we have to play Louisville. So from that perspective ,the timing of the loss is good for us, because now we actually have a block to work in.”
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will play at Louisville on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. This will be the first ACC game for North Carolina this season after finishing at the top of the conference last year.
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